When someone asks you what the largest cities in the country are, how do you automatically respond? Do you refer to those places with the highest population? Or the largest land area? Does your mind immediately think sexual appetite? Of course, if you’re like me, your go-to answer is always, “Google it.”
We’ve taken into consideration all the categories under which “largest metropolitan areas in the USA” might fall. Okay, not all categories. Just five. Read on to get the definitive answer to the question that has, no doubt, been keeping you up nights:
Most folks, when referring to the size of a city, mean its population. The more people elbowing you in the ribs as you try to hurry down the street to your “Philosophy of Star Wars” class, the bigger the city is generally thought to be. Bet you’ve never had your toes trod upon in Lost Springs, WY (population: 1).
- New York – 8,491,079
- Los Angeles – 3,928,864
- Chicago – 2,722,389
- Houston – 2,239,558
- Philadelphia – 1,560,297
By Land Area
If you’re going to measure a city’s size by land area rather than population, then none of the above places qualify for this category—not by a long shot. Most of the metropolitan areas here are severely lacking in human inhabitants. Also, it would appear that to get on this particular list, you must be in Alaska.
- Sitka, Alaska – 2,870.3 square miles. Though it’s the largest city by land area, Sitka has only 10,323 residents. That’s a lot of elbow room!
- Juneau, Alaska – 2,701.9 square miles. Juneau, the state capital, is bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware put together.
- Wrangell, Alaska – 2,541.5 square miles. Wrangell is in the most southeastern part of the state and borders on British Columbia, Canada, which makes for an easy getaway should this country reinstate the draft.
- Anchorage, Alaska – 1,704.7 square miles. With its 300,950 residents, Anchorage is ginormous compared to Sitka, and makes up about 40 percent of Alaska’s total population.
- Jacksonville, Florida – 747 square miles. Wait, Jacksonville’s not in Alaska. But it is the biggest city in the lower 48 states—by land area, that is.
What makes up the wealthiest cities in the country? The percentage of residents (as long as there are more than 500,000) who earn more than $150,000 a year. And apparently to fit on this list your city must begin with “S” and be on the west coast (except Washington, although to be fair, it’s not a city, it’s a federal district).
- San Francisco
- Percentage of incomes over $150,000: 23.4%
- Percentage of population with bachelor’s degree: 52.4%
- San Jose
- Percentage of incomes over $150,000: 22.6%
- Percentage of population with bachelor’s degree: 37.4%
- Percentage of incomes over $150,000: 19.0%
- Percentage of population with bachelor’s degree: 51.7%
- Percentage of incomes over $150,000: 16.2%
- Percentage of population with bachelor’s degree: 57.4%
- San Diego
- Percentage of incomes over $150,000: 14.8%
- Percentage of population with bachelor’s degree: 41.7%
On the other hand, when you think “largest” you may associate that with weight, and no list about the United States’ residents would be complete without a look at obesity rates. In 1990, 15% of the population was obese. Today 36% of adults are obese. So if you’re doing your best to keep your figure trim, these are the metropolitan areas in the USA to avoid.
- Provo-Orem, UT
- Colorado Springs, CO
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
By Sexual Appetite
And finally, no list of mine would be complete without some sexual innuendo. Or, in this case, outright mentions of sex. According to data from the popular dating site OkCupid, these are the top cities for casual sex as indicated on people’s profiles (of course, “casual” could just mean “relaxed”):
- Portland – it ain’t cheap to live there, and sex is free.
- Seattle – when it rains this much, there’s not a whole lot else to do.
- Pittsburg – it still has a drive-in—and nothing says “casual sex” more than the backseat of a car!
- Miami – it’s all that sexy, salsa-dancing Cuban culture, man!
- San Francisco – probably because of all the public nudity.